The minor leagues are about stretching limitations. The major leagues are about concealing limitations.

Hence the disparity at first base. What's traditionally regarded as a repository for big bats is typically lacking in big prospects. Confining someone so young to a position so inflexible is a concession of sorts and generally points to a lack of athleticism that could make the whole endeavor go belly-up.

Top prospects: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | P

It's only after that overextended third baseman, outfielder or whatever reaches the majors that he migrates to the cold corner. And once he's there, he can stick around a long time, ensuring the position never endures a real drought period.

But when prospect hunting, yeah, the first basemen are in short supply. The most plodding of plodders pigeonholed there from the get-go can sometimes have real sleeper appeal since we ultimately only care about the numbers they put up, but their defensive limitations do give them a narrow path to playing time.

Having said that, the top two on this list are about as can't-miss as it gets.

Note: This list is intended for a variety of Fantasy formats and thus weighs short-term role against long-term value. Not all of these players will contribute in 2022 — most, in fact, will not — but among prospects, they're the names Fantasy Baseballers most need to know.

1. Spencer Torkelson, Tigers

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2021: high Class A, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .267 BA (431 AB), 30 HR, .935 OPS, 77 BB, 114 K

He needed some time to adjust to each level, suppressing his batting average a bit, but by tearing through basically the entire minor-league system in his first professional season, the top pick in 2020 nonetheless lived up to the billing. He ditched playing third base upon reaching Triple-A, making for one less hurdle on his way to becoming a middle-of-the-lineup force.

2. Triston Casas, Red Sox

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2021: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .279 BA (308 AB), 14 HR, .877 OPS, 57 BB, 71 K

Comparisons for Casas have ranged from Joey Votto to Cody Bellinger, but the most fitting in terms of build, swing and approach is Freddie Freeman. His hit tool stood out the most in 2021, particularly with the reduction in strikeout rate, but scouts still love his power, which came on late. Note that he also hit three home runs for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics.

3. Nick Pratto, Royals

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2021: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .265 BA (445 AB), 36 HR, 12 SB, .988 OPS, 83 BB, 157 K

A late slump brought his batting average down to size, but considering Pratto hit .191 with a .588 OPS in 2019, there's still no overstating the enormity of his breakthrough. The Royals' big investments in hitter development since then have unlocked the former first-rounder's potential, putting his athleticism on full display thanks to better swing decisions and a shorter stroke.

4. Dustin Harris, Rangers

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2021: low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .327 BA (404 AB), 20 HR, 25 SB, .943 OPS, 47 BB, 73 K

Right down to his defensive versatility and base-stealing prowess, two rare qualities for a first baseman, it's hard to identify a true weak spot for Harris, which suggests he's only flying under the radar because his breakthrough was so unexpected. He hit a combined three homers in his first 301 minor-league at-bats, carrying over into this year, before learning to elevate the ball as regularly as he barrels it up.

5. Seth Beer, Diamondbacks

Age (on opening day): 25
Where he played in 2021: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .287 BA (362 AB), 16 HR, 33 2B, .909 OPS, 39 BB, 76 K
Major-leaguer stats: 4 for 9, HR, 2B, 1 BB, 3 K

The Diamondbacks seemed reluctant to turn first base over to Beer, calling him up to serve as DH during an interleague series, but the quick impression he made probably would have kept him around if he hadn't dislocated his shoulder. He'll have a narrow margin for error as a limited defender but consistently produced in the minors and may be a little under-hyped.

6. Vinnie Pasquantino, Royals

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2021: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .300 BA (437 AB), 24 HR, 37 2B, .957 OPS, 64 BB, 64 K

The former 11th-round pick had exactly 64 strikeouts, 64 walks and 64 extra-base hits in 2021, which is to be praised for more than just its congruity. Unlike Nick Pratto, Pasquantino has been this way since the Royals drafted him, and now that he's reached the upper levels, people are taking notice. Is he or catcher MJ Melendez the better fit at DH?

7. Juan Yepez, Cardinals

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2021: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .286 BA (367 AB), 27 HR, 29 2B, .969 OPS, 51 BB, 82 K

Capable of playing all four corner spots, Yepez may settle in as more of a bat-first utility player, but with all the alterations he has made the past couple years -- from his swing to his swing decisions to his physique -- I wouldn't rule him out as a full-timer. Whether he can sustain the power gains is the determining factor.

8. Anthony Garcia, Yankees

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2021: complex, low Class A
Minor-league stats: ..306 BA (121 AB), 14 HR, 15 SB, 1.122 OPS, 31 BB, 50 K

What we have here is a massive slugger, standing about 6-feet-6, who strikes out too much but so pulverizes the baseball that it may not matter, as it hasn't in the lower levels. Yeah, I'll make the Aaron Judge comparison, unlikely though it may be. Garcia is the logical outgrowth of three-true-outcomes culture and a reasonable enough pickup to dream on.

9. Aaron Sabato, Twins

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2021: low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .202 BA (361 AB), 19 HR, .373 OBP, .783 OPS, 92 BB, 149 K

Miserable though his professional debut was, Sabato is still a player whose bat rated highly enough in college to get him drafted in the first round. He says the lack of reps in 2020 hindered his transition, and it's worth noting he hit .253 with 1.015 OPS in 22 games after being promoted to high Class A. Just look at how much he got on base, too.

10. Jonathan Aranda, Rays

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2021: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .330 BA (348 AB), 14 HR, 22 2B, .962 OPS, 42 BB, 76 K

Aranda barely registers for most prospect publications, but it's hard to dismiss a guy who led the Double-A South league in every slash line measure (.325/.410/.540). At 5-feet-11, his power is more gap-to-gap, and while he has played all over the infield, first base is his only real fit. That's a difficult profile to land, but it's clear he has some bat skills.